The inspector general of the state's Military Department will have more independence and National Guard members who blow the whistle on misconduct will have more protections under a bill Gov. Jerry Bill signed Friday.
Senate Bill 921 makes those changes in response to concerns raised in a Bee investigation of the National Guard during 2010 and 2011. The articles exposed financial fraud in recruitment and retention programs, improper pay for generals and neglect of the California Army Guard's largest training base at Camp Roberts.
The new law says that the governor will appoint an inspector general to a four-year term, who will report to the top Guard leader, but cannot be removed from office except for good cause. It was written by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, an Air Force veteran who is a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Lieu said a lack of internal oversight within the chain of command was to blame for the violations uncovered through legislative hearings and The Bee's investigation.